Before Ezra & I got married, we did a pre-marriage course. Actually before we were even engaged we did a pre-marriage course. At the time I thought it was ridiculous, and would get quite embarrassed when people would ask; 'So when are you getting married?' In the end though, so many of the things we learnt were actually so practical for dating couples, and I would now recommend dating couples to do it. It helps so much in understanding your partner, and why they may act the way they do.
The 2 biggest things I got out of it was communication and confrontation. The course talked about 'Are you a rhino, or are you a hedgehog' when it comes to confrontation. Rhino's are full charge ahead and deal with situations head on, whereas the hedgehog will retreat, curl up and internalise. This doesn't mean to say hedgehogs aren't opinionated and have a lot they would like to say, their delivery is just very different as well as their timing. Most couples will have a combination of a rhino and a hedgehog and in our case Ezra is definitely the rhino and I am the hedgehog. (For more on hedgehogs & rhino's I'll attach a link at the bottom of the page).
The course also talked a lot about communication, and that how we communicate is largely based on our family upbringing. For some people this may be incredibly obvious, but for me it was such an eye opener. It helped me understand in my case, Ezra isn't trying to talk at me and blurt everything out that he's feeling - that's just how he was brought up. In his family there are 4 boys in 4 years, and they all love to talk at once, be upfront and will always just say things how they are. My family on the other hand is 4 girls and 1 boy, we are a lot more private, and we do not enjoy confrontation. Ezra has had to learn that I have grown up not addressing certain issues in order not to offend. I'm also one of those people who thinks of the best come backs anywhere from 10 seconds, 10 minutes or up to 10 days later...so I usually don't have the right words to say in the heat of the moment - do I have any friends here? So frustrating!
All this to say - every couple is so different, and I believe for any relationship to last, you need to understand how your parter was brought up, and how they best communicate. Now this doesn't mean you just have to accept how they are and never change yourself either, it needs to be a work in progress on both sides. Ezra and I both have to compromise and make changes to the way we would 'naturally' react in a situations. Sometimes Ezra has to bite his tongue, and be patient to allow time for me to think everything over, and come back with a well thought out response. Other times I need to let Ezra just say everything he's feeling, and not take offence or take things personally.
In a relationship, you shouldn't be fighting each other, you should be fighting together for a solution that works best for everyone.
Like I said, it's definitely still a work in progress for us, but having that understanding of why people act the way they do, makes a world of difference.
Link below as promised..